Washington Football Team offseason tracker 2021: Key upcoming dates, free agency scorecard and more

Over the next few weeks, the Washington Football Team has some decisions to make. Washington is coming off of quite the eventful campaign. In 2020, Alex Smith made his return to the field and went 5-1 as the starter, Chase Young made the Pro Bowl as a rookie and helped the defense become one of the best units in the league, and Washington claimed the NFC East with a 7-9 record. At the same time, former first-round pick Dwayne Haskins was released, the team struggled with injuries and the future at quarterback is still murky. The good news is a big offseason could turn Washington into a legitimate playoff team that can compete in 2021. 

The aforementioned quarterback situation is the most important issue Washington is facing. With Smith gone and the eternal Ryan Fitzpatrick agreeing to a one-year deal, could head coach Ron Rivera draft a signal-caller come April? Additionally, Washington would be smart to add another receiver that can serve as a legitimate No. 2 and take some pressure off of Terry McLaurin. Washington could also upgrade on the offensive line where All-Pro Brandon Scherff is returning after signing his franchise tag for a second year in a row.

As we move through the offseason, this hub will serve as a go-to spot for everything related to Washington. We’ll have all the important dates, free agency updates, draft content and the latest rumors and news revolving around what’s going on in Washington. Every single piece we publish regarding the Football Team can be found at the bottom of this piece for a chronological timeline of what has occurred thus far. 

Key upcoming datesMarch 9: Deadline for clubs to place the franchise or transition tag on players.March 15-17: Legal tampering period opens. March 17: The 2021 league year and free agency period begin at 4 p.m. EST.April 5: Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2020 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.April 19: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.April 23: Deadline for restricted free agents to sign.April 28: Deadline for teams to match restricted free agents offer sheets.April 29 – May 1: 2021 NFL Draft.2021 NFL Draft picksFirst round (No. 19 overall)Second round (No. 51 overall)Third round (No. 74 overall)Third round (No. 83 overall)Fourth round (No. 115 overall)Fifth round (No. 147 overall)Seventh round (No. 209 overall)Seventh round (No. 211 overall)Washington’s free agents

(H/T Spotrac)

OG Brandon Scherff (franchise tagged)QB Kyle Allen (re-signed)DE Ryan KerriganLB Kevin Pierre-Louis (signed with Texans)CB Ronald Darby (signed with Broncos) K Dustin Hopkins (re-signed) LB Reuben FosterOT David Sharpe (Re-signed)OLB Ryan AndersonLS Nick SundbergRB Lamar Miller (Re-signed)OLB Mychal KendricksOLB Jared NorrisCB Fabian MoreauWR Robert Foster (RFA)TE Jeremy SprinkleCB Danny Johnson (RFA)WR Cam Sims (ERFA, tendered)

Signings from other teams

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (Dolphins)CB William Jackson III (Bengals)WR Curtis Samuel (Panthers)

Rumors, reports and updates

Former Panthers receiver Curtis Samuel to sign three-year, $34.5 million deal with Washington

March 17: After trying to acquire him last season, Ron Rivera has finally been reunited with Curtis Samuel. The former Panthers receiver has come to terms on a three-year, $34.5 million deal with Washington, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Rivera tried to trade for Samuel during the 2020 season but Panthers then general manager Marty Hurney refused, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. 

Read more from Bryan DeArdo’s story, here. 

Washington agrees to terms with cornerback William Jackson III on a three-year, $42 million deal

March 16: The Washington Football Team reportedly agreed to terms with one of the top defensive free agents on the open market on Tuesday night. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Washington and former Cincinnati Bengals cornerback William Jackson III have agreed to a three-year, $42 million deal. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that Jackson will receive $26 million guaranteed. In his first stint in free agency, it didn’t take Jackson long to find an interested team willing to give him the kind of money he was looking for.

Read more from Jordan Dajani’s story, here.

Ryan Fitzpatrick agrees to one-year deal with Washington, expected to enter camp as starter

March 15: Ryan Fitzpatrick’s ninth stop in the NFL has him landing with the Washington Football Team. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Fitzpatrick has reached an agreement on a one-year deal with the club on Monday evening. The contract is worth $10 million but could grow to $12 million if the journeyman hits specific incentives. Schefter adds that Fitzpatrick is expected to head into camp as Washington’s starter with Taylor Heinicke competing for the gig as well. CBS NFL insider Jason La Canfora said Washington was also exploring other options at QB.

Read more from Tyler Sullivan’s story, here. 

Brandon Scherff signs franchise tag

March 13: All-Pro guard Brandon Scherff is ready to play on the franchise tag yet again. According to NFL.com, Scherff has signed his franchise tender with the Washington Football Team. The Football Team tagged Scherff in 2020 and has done so again for the 2021 campaign. Scherff’s 2021 salary will be just north of $18 million, which is 120% of the approximately $15 million figure he made last year. 

Read more from Jared Dubin’s story, here. 

Washington tenders Kyle Allen

March 10: While their quarterback situation in limbo, the Washington Football Team has decided to keep Kyle Allen in D.C. for the 2021 season. Washington has tendered Allen, who started four games last season before suffering a dislocated ankle that ended his season. A former undrafted rookie, Allen started one game for the Panthers during the 2018 season. With Cam Newton injured, Allen started 12 games in 2019, going 5-7. That season, he completed 62% of his passes for 3,322 yards with 17 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. 

Read more from Bryan DeArdo’s story, here. 

Washington places franchise tag on guard Brandon Scherff for second straight year

March 8: The Washington Football Team has once again placed the franchise tag on guard Brandon Scherff, the club announced Monday night. Both sides will continue to work toward a long-term deal, according to NFL Network. Washington has until 4 p.m. on July 15 to sign Scherff to a multiyear contract. 

Read more from Bryan DeArdo’s story, here.

Five veteran QB options Washington can target to replace Alex Smith

March 5: CBS Sports’ Tyler Sullivan identified five intriguing veteran quarterbacks who could replace Smith. Check out his story, here. 

Washington releases Alex Smith

March 5: When Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith went public last week with how the franchise did not seem to support him in his miraculous return from a serious leg injury, it appeared to signal the end of his time in Washington. Well, that has since come to fruition as Washington has informed Smith that they have granted his request to be released. This move was to be expected as CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones previously reported that the two sides would separate in the near future. Releasing Smith will reportedly save the team nearly $15 million.

Read more from Jordan Dajani’s story, here. 

Washington releases Thomas Davis, who will sign a one-day contract to retire with Panthers

March 3: Thomas Davis announced in December that the 2020 season would be his last. On Wednesday, the Washington Football Team released Davis so that he could retire as a member of the Carolina Panthers, his team for 13 of his 16 NFL seasons. 

Read more from Bryan DeArdo’s story, here. 

Five teams have called Texans about Deshaun Watson, but Washington is not one

March 2: During a Tuesday appearance on “BMitch and Finlay” on 106.7 “The Fan,” John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reported that five teams have called Houston about Watson, but that the Washington Football Team was not one of them, according to JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington. Washington is one of the several teams in the market for a new quarterback, and it was even reported earlier this week that they would be parting ways with Alex Smith in the coming days. While Washington has been in quarterback purgatory for the last several years and acquiring Watson would certainly solve a long-standing problem, McClain’s report isn’t surprising. 

Read more from Jordan Dajani’s story, here. 

Taylor Heinicke wants team to keep Alex Smith on the 2021 roster

Feb. 26: It certainly seems as if Alex Smith is done both in and with Washington. The veteran quarterback aired out a lot of dirty laundry recently as it relates to what it took for him to get back onto an NFL field, and not physically, but instead mentally in a battle of sorts with the Football Team. Smith made it known the organization “didn’t want me” to return from his nearly career-ending injury, and that they hesitated to give him “a fair shake” at suiting up again, an allegation supported by the team trying to give the now-ousted Dwayne Haskins multiple shots at being QB1 while developing Taylor Heinicke for the role as well.

Heinicke doesn’t want to see Smith leave, though. 

“He means a lot to the team,” said the 27-year-old, via NFL.com. “He brings a lot to the table. Hopefully we can bring him back. I know a lot of the guys love him and he’s good for the locker room and he can still play.”

Read more from Patrik Walker’s story, here. 

Why Alex Smith’s epic Washington comeback story was always too good to be entirely true, and what comes next

Feb. 24: Some stories are just too good to be true. They sound a little too much like a fairy tale for the meat grinder that is major professional sports. The return of Alex Smith to the Washington Football Team certainly qualifies.

The physical comeback itself, and the heroic measures that Smith took on to overcome life-threatening injuries and infections and all of the surgeries and the incredible odds he shattered will live on forever as one of the more improbable and remarkable redemption stories in modern NFL history. But the idea that it was without tension, or conflict, or struggle, given all that was going on within that long-troubled organization — the sentiment that this was a collective kumbaya endeavor between player and team — was always naïve. It belied the economics and interpersonal dynamics and harsh realities of roster regulations, and salary caps and payrolls. The gleam is certainly off that part of the story now following Smith’s candid but hardly unexpected remarks to GQ magazine published this week.

Read more from Jason La Canfora’s story, here. 

Alex Smith’s explosive comments toward Washington reportedly fueled by two different slights

Feb. 24: Clearly it has been a tough few years for Smith, but what would cause him to verbally attack his current team? This is something that 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen set out to discover, and in talking to several people in and around the Washington Football Team, he has come up with two primary instances which compounded Smith’s frustration.

Read more from Jordan Dajani’s story, here. 

Alex Smith says Washington ‘didn’t want me’ after return from injury, hesitated to give him ‘fair shake’

Feb. 23: Speaking with GQ’s Clay Skipper this week, Smith did not mince words when recounting his road back to the field, indicating that Washington was initially very resistant to the idea of the 36-year-old quarterback actually taking snaps in 2020.

“They never thought I was coming back,” Smith said. “When I decided to come back, I definitely threw a wrench in the team’s plan. They didn’t see it, didn’t want me there, didn’t want me to be a part of it, didn’t want me to be on the team, the roster, didn’t want to give me a chance. Mind you, it was a whole new regime; they came in, I’m like the leftovers and I’m hurt and I’m this liability.”

Read more from Cody Benjamin’s story, here. 

Washington Football Team will keep name through 2021, unveil new identity in 2022

Feb. 23: Washington won its first NFC East title in six years while debuting a new nickname in 2020, marking a victorious start to the franchise’s run as the Washington Football Team. That run is likely to last just one more season, however, thanks to an announcement from the club’s official re-branding website. Built in 2020 after the team retired its former moniker that was a slur used against Indigenous people — and the franchise nickname since 1933 — the site revealed this week that the Washington Football Team will keep its name through 2021, then unveil a new identity for the 2022 season.

Read more from Cody Benjamin’s story, here. 

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos could be eyeing ownership of Washington Football Team, per report

Feb. 23: Months after the Washington Football Team’s minority stakeholders reportedly began pressuring owner Daniel Snyder to sell the franchise, one man could be angling to take the club off Snyder’s hands. According to Front Office Sports’ A.J. Perez, billionaire Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is interested in owning an NFL team and may now have Washington circled as part of “his private wish list.” 

Read more from Cody Benjamin’s story, here. 

Washington using a second franchise tag on Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff still an option

Feb. 22: Washington is once again hoping to sign Scherff to a long-term deal — but a second franchise tag is reportedly still on the table.

tyNicki Jhabvala of The Washington Post reported that Washington has no intention of letting Scherff hit free agency, and that they want to sign him to a long-term deal. Jhabvala reports that people familiar with the situation say Washington could end up using the franchise tag on Scherff a second time if no deal is agreed to, however.

Read more from Jordan Dajani’s story, here. 

NFC East 2021 offseason needs

Feb. 17: Patrik Walker gives his top offseason needs for the Washington Football Team. Read his piece, here. 

Washington names former Colts general manager Chris Polian as director of pro personnel

Feb. 15: Washington announced that it had hired Chris Polian as its new director of pro personnel. Polian is the son of Pro Football Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian, who was a six-time NFL Executive of the Year award winner, and team president as well as general manager of the Indianapolis Colts when they won Super Bowl XLI.

Read more from Jordan Dajani’s story, here. 

Washington signs quarterback Taylor Heinicke to two-year deal worth $8.75M

Feb. 10: The Washington Football Team locked up a quarterback who could end up starting some games in 2021. Washington announced it had signed Taylor Heinicke to a two-year extension. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the new deal is worth $8.75 million, and includes incentives for number of games started.

Read more from Jordan Dajani’s story, here. 

Chase Young named 2020 AP Defensive Rookie of the Year

Feb. 6: Chase Young has won the AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award after completing arguably the best rookie season in Washington Football Team history. Young is the first Washington player to win the award, and he finished his first season with 44 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 12 quarterback hits, four forced fumbles and four passes defensed — a star on a Washington defensive line that finished sixth in the NFL in sacks (47) and second in yards per game allowed (304.6). Young and Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson were the only two rookies to be selected to the Pro Bowl this year.

Read more from Jeff Kerr’s story, here. 

Washington’s Alex Smith named 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year

Feb. 6: Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith has been named the 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year for returning to football after he almost lost his right leg along with his life. After being taken down in an awkward fashion on Nov. 18, 2018 during a matchup against the Houston Texans, Smith suffered a compound fracture of his right tibia and a fractured right fibula. Smith underwent 17 surgeries to repair his leg and fought off an infection that nearly caused doctors to amputate the limb. 

Read more from Jordan Dajani’s story, here. 

Washington executives want to be ‘smart and aggressive’ in finding a new quarterback

Feb. 3: Both (Martin) Mayhew and (Marty) Hurney were complimentary of Washington quarterback Alex Smith — especially considering his incredible comeback story. But that doesn’t mean that the franchise won’t look to upgrade at the position. Mayhew said that Washington will look at the quarterback situation “very thoroughly,” according to JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington, while Mayhew said that Washington wants to be “smart and aggressive” in finding a new quarterback. 

Read more from Jordan Dajani’s story, here. 

Matthew Stafford trade: 49ers, Colts, Washington also sought to acquire QB, per reports

Jan. 31: While Stafford will ultimately end up in Los Angeles, several other teams were hoping to acquire his services. The 49ers, Colts, Panthers, the Washington Football Team, and Broncos were also interested in acquiring Stafford and were part of the Rams’ competition to land him, per NBC Sports Peter King. In fact, Washington’s offer to Detroit was better for the Lions this year than what they ultimately will receive from the Rams, according to Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post. Ben Standig of The Athletic added that Washington’s offer included more immediate help than what the Lions landed.

Read more from Bryan DeArdo’s story, here. 

Washington Football Team promotes Jennifer King to full-time offensive assistant

Jan. 26: Sarah Thomas made history by becoming the first woman to be named to a Super Bowl officiating crew. Days later, another woman has logged an achievement for the record books, with Washington Football Team’s Jennifer King becoming just the third active full-time female coach in the NFL and the first Black woman to secure a full-time role. King, who spent 2020 as an intern under Ron Rivera, has been promoted to a full-time offensive assistant role with the team ahead of the 2021 season, as the team announced she was named assistant running backs coach.

Read more from Cody Benjamin’s story, here. 

Washington names Martin Mayhew as new general manager, assigns Marty Hurney to executive role

Jan. 22: Days after reportedly finalizing a deal with longtime Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney to run their own front office, Washington Football Team has reversed course a bit and named Martin Mayhew its GM ahead of the 2021 season, the team announced. Hurney will instead reportedly be named Executive Vice President of Football/Player Personnel, per Adam Schefter of ESPN, but it’s Mayhew, the former San Francisco 49ers executive and ex-NFL cornerback, who’ll now be leading the team alongside coach Ron Rivera.

Read more from Cody Benjamin and Patrik Walker, here. 

Washington’s Ryan Kerrigan ‘definitely wants to be a starter’ on new contract

Jan. 12: As he eyes free agency this offseason, the 32-year-old is crystal clear in what he hopes to obtain with a new NFL contract, and it’s not being relegated to rotational duty. 

“I definitely want to be a starter,” Kerrigan said, via The Washington Post. “I mean, I think any player would say that. I don’t think anybody just wants to settle for being a role player or a reserve player.”

Read more from Patrik Walker’s story, here. 

Three-step plan to fix Washington in 2021: Solidifying the future at quarterback comes first

Jan. 11: Jordan Dajani created a three-step plan to fix Washington in 2021. Check out his piece, here. 

Published: 2021-03-19 14:31:59

Tags: #Washington #Football #Team #offseason #tracker #Key #upcoming #dates #free #agency #scorecard


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